Struggling Readers

  • Understanding the Struggling Reader
  • Testing Struggling Readers
  • Solution
  • Next Genre Craze
  • Results

Understanding the Struggling Reader

By middle school, struggling readers have avoided books for three to five years. In high school, the student has seven to ten years practice of avoiding books.

This causes many problems.

~ No motivation to read.

~ No confidence in reading.

~ No patience to read.

~ The student does not see the purpose, or value in reading.

~ Will not participate in reading activities.

~ Negative thinking whenever reading is mentioned.

Testing Struggling Readers

The more you single out, diagnose, test, tutor, evaluate, and take personal time away from a middle school, or high school student, the more that student will rebel against reading.

In middle school and high school, reading teachers want to focus on the content of books, not teaching how to read books. A teacher with a class time of fifty minutes and a class size of thirty students must stick with the curriculum. (I totally agree and support this.)


~ Offer books that both struggling and advanced readers can read with interest.

~ Books with one to four page chapters. The reader will have a sense of accomplishment, which will increase their confidence.

~ Short paragraphs, which will enhance the intensity of the book, while building even more confidence in the reader.

~ Character driven books. This means the story is being told by several different characters that relate to the reader, which boosts interest.

~ Character driven books have shortened descriptions and more dialogue. This has two positive impacts: Builds up interest through the eyes of the character and increases the speed of the book.

~ The first and last line of each chapter is a power sentence, used to hook the reader. Use power sentences throughout each chapter to re-hook the reader throughout the story.

~ Section breaks to end one part of the story and entice the reader to the next part of the story.

~ Books that sound better when read aloud will have a smooth flow.

~ The author should write in “short burst” sessions. This means, the author spends one to three hours a day writing, instead of eight hour writing sessions. By doing this, the story has a “short burst” feel.

To summarize, a reader will begin a book thinking they are starting with “A,” which is the beginning of the story, then subconsciously thinking they need to reach “Z”, which is the end of the story. Ron Knight books have a different feel. It reads more like, “A,” to “B,” to “C,” to “D,” and continues the thrill ride to “Z.”

Psychological Thrillers: The Next Genre Craze

Ron Knight books are in the psychological thriller genre for grades 4th, 5th, middle school, high school.

A psychological thriller is a heart-pumping mystery, with a semi-dark format, a mind-game storyline, villains can be anyone, anything, or any emotion, which creates a setting for characters that skirts the line between what is real and what is possibly real.

There are several reasons to use Psychological Thrillers.

~ Create intensity and emotions in the story rather than writing a book that is so dark, it may offend students, teachers, and/or parents.

~ The reader can better relate to the characters and setting, because the story is believable.

~ Conflict in the story is both personal and global. The story relates to the reader on a personal level, along with relating to the daily life of the reader.

~ Sub-characters unwillingly become a hindrance to the main characters. This shows the reader how to solve problems, even when it seems nothing is going their way.

~ Believable fiction, which results in conversation. We want readers discussing the story, during and after they read the book.

~ The reader is entertained and taught something new at the same time.

~ And most importantly, in all Ron Knight books, the reader actually becomes a character in the story!


~ Struggling readers and advanced readers are not separated. They are reading and discussing the same books.

~ Motivation to read.

~ Confidence in reading.

~ Patience to read.

~ Purpose and value in reading.

~ Participating in reading activities.

~ Positive thinking whenever reading is mentioned.

Remember that struggling readers often have a powerful imagination. They grow up to be artists, musicians, product designers, and even become authors. Artistic readers battle with the content of the book and the imagination in their mind. I know this from experience.

Ron Knight Books for Grades 2nd – 4th: AC Heroes

Ron Knight Books for Grades 5th – Middle School: Middle Room Book Series.

Middle Room:

Middle Room, The Bookmark:

Ron Knight Books for High School: N9NE Series. (Coming Fall of 2012!)

Ron Knight Books for adults, coming soon.


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